Treasure seeker goes missing in Colorado searching for $2m hidden treasure FOUND

Randell Bilyeu, of Colorado, has been missing. His car was found near the Rio Grande at Buckman. ewmkaw@comcast.net Fri Jan 15 15:19:26 -0700 2016 1452896366 FILENAME: 205845.jpg

UPDATE 6/25/17 –  Another searcher of the Fenn Treasure found deceased.  Pastor Paris Wallace, 52, from Clifton, Colorado, who went missing after traveling to New Mexico to look for the Fenn Treasure has been found deceased.   Wallace left his home on June 12 and was to return a few days later.  When he didn’t come back his wife reported him missing.  Wallace was traced to a hotel room in New Mexico.  Coordinates found in the laptop left in his room led officers to his vehicle, abandoned on a dirt road near the Taos Junction Bridge in Taos, New Mexico. Inside the car were receipts for ropes, and when the search team scoured the nearest hiking trail, two ropes tied together were found secured to a large rock, reports NBC News.

The body believed to be Wallace was recovered seven miles downstream from where the ropes were found.  On Sunday, rafters found a male body in the Rio Grande River near Pilar, New Mexico. Officers believe the recovered body to be Paris Wallace


UPDATE 7/26/16 – The remains of Randy Bilyeu have been found along the Rio Grande north of Cochiti Lake. The medical examiner will try to determine the cause of death.

Original story:  Randy Bilyeu, 54, moved to Colorado two years ago to search for a  $2m treasure that was hidden in the Rocky mountains by an eccentric antiquities dealer.  On Jan. 5, Bilyeu set out on Jan. 5 on a raft to search for the treasure with his little dog, Leo.   Going by the clues left by Forrest Fenn in a memoir he self-published called “The Thrill of the Chase” in 2010.

A worried friend waited patiently for Bilyeu to make contact but each day brought more worry.  A missing person’s report was made on Jan. 15, 2016 when the friend told Bileu’s ex-wife, Linda, that he had made no contact.

Randy and his dog, Leo

Bilyeu is not the only one that has searched for the 40 pound box that consists of gold, jewelry and artifacts.  It is estimated by Fenn by the posts on blogs and purchases of his book that about 65,000 other people have searched through New Mexico, Yellowstone park and other nearby places looking for the treasure he buried.   For some the adventure has turned into misadventures as they have been rescued by forest rangers when they have found themselves out long after the sun has gone down or trapped by a rising river.

The following day after Linda reported Bilyeu missing his raft was found with his dog still there.

“We know that Randy studied this area very well. He even noted that certain areas were dangerous when the weather was bad and he had done quite a bit of research,” said Sacha Johnston, a treasure hunter helping to coordinate searches. “He wasn’t just randomly kayaking down the Rio Grande one day. He knew where he was going. He had a plan.” Was Bilyeu on to something?  Was he close to finding the treasure?

Forrest Fenn

Stepping in to help search for Bilyeu is someone who could  answer that question but likely will not, the man who hid the treasure, Forrest Fenn.  Fenn who is 85-year-sold isusing his own money to charter helicopters to search for Bilyeu.  Many of the treasure hunters, as well,  have joined in to search for Bilyeu as well.

“Every time we go out and don’t find Randy it’s discouraging, but we’re not going to give up.  There are still places out there that I want to look,” Fenn told the AP.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

1 Comment

  1. Leo was never placed on a raft to help search for Randy. There was no sandwich in his car. I reported Randy missing on January 14th. He is still missing. Mr Fenn gave up after 3 weeks. My team of searchers are still searching after 4 months.